ABUJA — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a significant contribution of nearly US$100 million from the United States, which guarantees continued life-saving food assistance in northeast Nigeria through early 2018.
This brings the total amount donated by the United States Agency for International Devel-opment (USAID) this year to US$150.8 million for WFP operations in Borno, Yobe and Ada-mawa, the states hardest hit by the conflict-driven hunger crisis.
“This extremely generous donation from the American people is a game changer and now WFP can sail full-speed ahead this year to help people in northeast Nigeria,” said WFP Exec-utive Director David Beasley, who recently travelled to the region to assess the situation first-hand. “Thanks to donations from the US and other donors, we have new momentum in fulfilling our mission to reach the most vulnerable and the most hungry.”
WFP will use the funds for multiple purposes, including local purchase of sorghum, dried beans, salt, rice and vegetable oil for food distributions, and also for providing cash or vouch-ers for people to redeem at participating stores.
The US contribution will also be used to cover the transportation and delivery costs of 5,000 metric tons of rice donated by the Nigerian government for WFP emergency operations. Yet another portion of the funding will be used to buy specialized nutritional foods for the most fragile populations — notably pregnant and nursing mothers, and small children.
Altogether this year, WFP’s life-saving assistance has reached more than one million people each month in the conflict-affected areas in northeast Nigeria, and has been instrumental in providing stability to people facing hunger and conflict.
The USAID contribution comes during the tail end of the ‘lean season’ between harvests, which has left roughly 5.2 million people in northeast Nigeria uncertain of where their next meal will come from. A funding shortfall earlier this year left WFP with no choice but to scale back its operations and focus solely on nutritional assistance to children under the age of two.
While WFP Nigeria operations are now fully funded through 2017, steady donor support is vital to keep up the fight against hunger while supporting communities to build durable fu-tures. At the same time, the broader humanitarian response across the four-nation Lake Chad Basin crisis that includes Nigeria remains significantly underfunded.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build re-silience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
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